In Bowie, turning foreclosures into housing for vets

This previously foreclosed home is under construction on Bosworth Drive in Bowie, Md. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

BOWIE, Md. – It’s a triple punch: Find veterans affordable homes, fill foreclosed homes and improve the community.

That’s what OpenDoor Housing Fund is trying to achieve in partnership with Prince George’s County, Md., starting in Bowie.

“A lot of veterans coming back need some particular attention and help to get reintegrated, so this is a great vehicle for that,” says Bowie Mayor Frederick Robinson.

Available homes vary in size, location and commitment — some are for rent. Jerry Konohia, OpenDoor’s president and CEO, says his organization is trying to offer veterans options.

“We’re looking for the types of facilities that will lend themselves to affordable rentals, townhouses that may be rentals or the things that’ll line up with veterans. We want to meet them at their financial capacity,” Konohia says.

Developer Gina Merritt says her team at Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures kept the intended homeowner in mind when working on one foreclosed home in Bowie.

The home is one level, which is ideal for veterans who may have a physical disability.

“We’re going to invest as much as we can in this property because the veterans deserve that,” Merritt says of her team’s thinking.

The OpenDoor Housing Fund has another property in Bowie meant for working, retired or disabled veterans looking for a new place to live.

Merritt says her firm also plans to start work on two Baltimore properties through the fund in two weeks.

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